Audio Review: The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean

rogue not takenLADY SOPHIE’S SOCIETY SPLASH

The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.

ROYAL ROGUE’S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT!

The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.

WAR? OR MORE?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…

Top Ten Hero Alert!! King is one of my favorite heroes. I LOVED HIM! He doesn’t want to be a good guy, he doesn’t want to help Sophie, and he wants to push her away. He sticks his foot in his mouth multiple times and then berates himself for being horrible. He’s dragged into his emotions one moment at a time.

Top Ten Heroine Alert !! I rarely say I love a heroine the way I love a hero. Sophie is witty, strong, and self-sufficient. I love how she can match the hero in wits.

One of my favorite moments in the book:

“You left my Hessian in a hedge.”

“You left me in a hedge.”

“I had no use for you.”

“Well, I had no use for your boot.”

[Rating:5]

Buy: The Rogue Not Taken: Scandal & Scoundrel, Book I

Review: Only the Brave Try Ballet by Stefanie London

braveballetHero: Grant Farley injured his hamstring on the field and must regain his flexibility quickly in order to play. He signs up for ballet lessons because he’s desperate for a “quick fix.” What he doesn’t expect is to find himself very attracted to his private tutor. Tweaking her tutu is just the kind of fun he likes.

Heroine: Jasmine Bell is a prim and proper ballerina. Or at least she was until she hurt herself. Now she can’t dance the way she loves. Pointe is completely out of the question and so is Grant Farley… he’s just like her last boyfriend. He wants a pretty thing on his arm and when she can’t be everything he wants, he’ll move onto the next model type. Grant’s determined to change her mind about him and ballet.

Review: If the hero and heroine hadn’t been injured they would never have met. It was a great premise. I liked Grant a lot as a hero. His bar fight that gets alluded to often is something he’s already taken care of, but he doesn’t want to screw up again and it gets to him. Most of his troubles feel like they are in his head. The same for the heroine. I had trouble caring about Jasmine’s fears of trying again to do proper ballet, especially once we learn that the doctor thinks its psychosomatic. So that didn’t work for me. However, Stefanie nails it on flirting and sexual chemistry. Oh la la!

[Rating:3]

Buy: Only the Brave Try Ballet

Audio Review: Midsummer Magic by Catherine Coulter

midsummer magicHero: Philip Hawsbury is no longer the second son. When his older brother died, he became the next Earl of Rothermere. Now his father is on his deathbed and Philip must fulfill a longstanding promise his father made to impoverished Alexander Kilbracken, the Scottish Earl of Ruthven. He must marry one of the daughters – Viola, Clare, or Frances.  He has no desire to wed anyone and would prefer to stay in London with his mistress. Now how can he proceed to do both?

Heroine: Frances does not want to be married off to Philip or really anyone sight unseen. She’s certain he’s going to be an arrogant Sassenach. She’s the apple of her father’s eye and has a premonition that her father would like to see her marry the man. Since she must be present and participate, she decides to do so in the worst way possible. While her sisters, Clare and Viola, vie for the young earl’s attention, she’s going to make herself ugly, aloof, and a shrew. Little does she know that she presents the perfect image of a wife for Philip – who wants to fulfill his father’s promise, but leave the missus behind at Desborough Hall while he pursues his London life unchecked and unencumbered.

Review: This book comes from the era of the “bodice-ripper” / “forced seduction” and has the flaws that associate with that period of romances. The hero for instance is not a worthy hero by today’s standard’s. He’s shallow and doesn’t learn to love the heroine in her disguise, but rather falls for her [beauty] when it comes off. He’s also either a product of his times or an idiot because he doesn’t think wives should be treated like mistresses and in so believing makes zero attempts to please his bride when he and she do their “duties” to conceive.  But it’s supposed to be acceptable and tolerable because both characters don’t know any better. Baloney. He also likes to pretend he’s the wounded party in all of this, which is very aggravating.

When he’s not being an irritating jerk he at least remembers the cream (which is not saying much.)

It should be noted that the heroine’s characterization starts off great – she’s feisty, stands up to her father, and tries to trick the hero with a “clever” ugly duckling disguise. But then this tom-boyish, heart of gold (she walks miles to visit her father’s tenets,) strong heroine gets replaced by someone else entirely during their “honeymoon” stage. She’s uncertain, quiet, mousey, and timid – and not just for the appearance of keeping up her disguise.

So what did work for me was the beginning and the initial set-up.

Narrator: Anne Flosnik as usual had a wonderful performance. She is one of the reasons I stuck with the story to the end.

[Rating:2]

Buy: Midsummer Magic (Magic Trilogy), Midsummer Magic (Audiobook)

Review: Until We Touch (Fool’s Gold, Book 15) by Susan Mallery

until we touchReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Jack McGarry is having a talk about Larissa Owens and learns something interesting.  Larissa is relatively new to Fool’s Gold but she loves it there.  They work together in the same office.  The reader should realize early on that this is going to be a book that is hard to put down.  You will realize that this can be read as a stand-alone.  But you will find it very hard at times not to either smile or laugh.

So if you’ve never read this series before you won’t be lost.  And I hope that if this is your first read in the “Fool’s Gold” series that this will be incentive for you to read the other books.  If you stop over to Susan’s web site, http://susanmallery.com/series.html, you’ll notice that she makes it easy for her readers – she breaks this series down by years.

I’m not joking when I say how easy it is to get lost in this story.  I was never so happy to have a day where I had to take my father to a series of medical appointments.  I got to finish this great book with only a few interruptions.  But be prepared – I took him to one of our local bookstores and was getting toward the end when I started to get tears in my eyes.  But luck was on my side because I could blame it on my Frappuccino.  The only disappointment in the ending was that there was no picture – you’ll understand when you get to that point.

This book is a must have.  If you’re a reader who still loves paperbacks and also has an e-reader, personally this is a series that is perfect to have in paperback form.  With the amount of time I spent reading that day I was out with my father, my e-reader would have run out of power.  Make sure to also mark your calendar; the next book will be coming out in October.

[Rating:5]

Buy: Until We Touch (Fool’s Gold Book 15)

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10 Reasons Football Players Should Do Ballet

ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET cover medGuest blog by Stefanie London, author of Only the Brave Try Ballet

I love books that throw unlikely pairings together. In my debut novel, Only the Brave Try Ballet, I put a former wild-child football player and an ex-professional ballerina together…oh, and I made the footy player take ballet lessons just to make him extra uncomfortable. Grant and Jasmine do seem like an odd couple, but they find more commonalities between their lives and their careers than they first expect. Jasmine has the tough task of convincing Grant that the ballet lessons will help him.

So why would a football player take ballet lessons? Here are a few reasons I came up with:

Ten Reasons Football Players Should Do Ballet:

  1. Flexibility – both his and hers!
  2. Core stability – important both on the footy field and in the bedroom
  3. Sweat – ballet may not look it, but it’s an amazing work out
  4. Ballet teachers – much better than what a footballer will find in the men’s locker room
  5. Strength – ballet works the whole body, but it’s especially great for thighs and calves
  6. Injury prevention – all that stretching is great for keeping muscles and joints injury free
  7. Increased body awareness – holding ballet positions increases awareness of how the body moves and the muscles work
  8. Mental challenge – many football players started when they were kids, they know the game inside out. Ballet is a whole new world for them to conquer
  9. Romance – ballet is romantic and passionate, maybe the footy players could pick up a few tips?
  10. Love – they might just meet the love of their life…Grant Farley sure did!

Official Blurb:

Step up, Grant Farley…not your typical ballet student!

Football pro Grant Farley is nursing an injury and needs to get back into shape—fast. Ballet wouldn’t be his first or even his last choice, but he’s desperate. Enter tantalizingly prim teacher Jasmine Bell—one disapproving arch of her eyebrow and Grant knows he’ll enjoy getting her tutu in a flutter!

But it’s not only Grant’s flexibility that Jasmine’s pushing to the limit! He knows she feels the heat between them, so why won’t she give in to it? Time to convince Jasmine that if she’s brave enough to dance en pointe she can certainly handle a fling with him!

Buy: Only the Brave Try Ballet

IMG_0449_2 - smlAuthor Bio: Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Her favourite activity was going shopping with her Nan during school holidays, where she would sit on the floor of the bookstore with her little sister and painstakingly select the books to spend her allowance on. Thankfully, Nan was a patient woman.

Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she got a job in Communications. When writing emails and newsletters didn’t fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night.

Now she lives with her very own hero and dreams of travelling the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, French perfume, high heels and zombie movies. Recently she gave up her day job to write sexy, contemporary romance stories and she couldn’t be happier.

Links: Stefanie loves to hear from her readers, you can find her at her website or on Facebook.